Biden administration announces new rules to cut pollution from power plants

Biden administration announces new rules to cut pollution from power plants

New rules will improve air quality, advance environmental justice, save lives  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today issued the following statement hailing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s announcement of a package of new standards to slash carbon, coal ash, mercury, wastewater, and other toxic pollution from power plants. 

“The power sector is the country’s second-largest source of carbon pollution, and so it is imperative that we curb harmful emissions and other dangerous pollution from power plants to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis and improve air quality in Black and Brown communities that have historically borne the brunt of pollution from the power sector,” said Bentley Johnson, federal government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Today’s announcement by the EPA is an important step in the right direction and will clean up the air we all breathe. We applaud President Biden, Administrator Reagan, and the Biden administration for taking action to curb air pollution and ensuring a healthy planet for future generations.”

Finalized under the authority of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the new rules will significantly reduce power sector pollution while protecting public health and advancing environmental justice. The package includes a rule for existing coal-fired and new natural gas-fired power plants to control 90 percent of their carbon pollution; a rule strengthening and updating the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for coal-first power plants, setting emissions standards of 67 percent for toxic metals and 70 percent for mercury; a rule to reduce wastewater from coal-fired power plants by more than 660 million pounds annually; and a rule to require the safe management of coal ash. 

In tandem with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the EPA’s carbon pollution power plant standards are projected to lead to a 75% reduction in carbon pollution, saving 1,200 lives and averting 360,000 cases of asthma symptoms by 2035. Additionally, the new mercury and air toxics standards are expected to create $300 million in health benefits, while the coal ash standards will clean up at least 278 legacy coal ash ponds or old, unregulated landfills. The EPA’s new wastewater standards will cut 660 million pounds of toxic wastewater pollution.

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